BRITS can enjoy half-price restaurant meals and cut price day trips this summer as part of a bumper plan to rescue Britain’s coronavirus-ravaged economy.
And Rishi Sunak has slashed VAT by a whopping 15% for the hospitality sector from 15 July through to 12 January next year – to get more Brits out and about to boost the nation after months in lockdown.
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Brits will be able to dine out at cafes, restaurants and pubs from Monday to Wednesday for half price – up to £10 a head per person – throughout the month of August.
The discount – dubbed Eat Out to Help Out – includes meals for kids too, but won’t include alcoholic drinks.
The discount can be used unlimited times too, so people can enjoy it as many times as they like.
It will help 1.8million jobs and affect 120,000 businesses, the Treasury says, and will cost roughly half a billion pounds.
The average family spends nearly £20 a week on cafe meals and eating out.
It means that for a family of four eating out at a restaurant, a total bill of £80 would be reduced to £40.
This will give a much-needed lift to thousands of restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments suffering from smaller customer numbers.
The policy aims to encourage people to spend the money they have saved in the UK rather than go abroad on holiday.
He revealed today: “For the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an Eat Out to Help Out discount.
“There are 1.8 million people work in this industry. They need our support. With this measure we can all eat out to help out.”
After the announcement, Mr Sunak visited a Wagamama restaurant at the Royal Festival Hall in central London where he served some customers their lunch.
Today he’s also announced:
However, many people struggling were quick to point out that the eating out scheme wasn’t the right priority, and the Government should be doing more to directly help with jobs.
Already hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs and many more are expected to follow.
One critic on social media said: “No worries if you can’t pay your rent, just copy a cheeky half-priced Nando’s on Monday.”
Pub owners were also upset they hadn’t received direct help either.
Dawn Hopkins, vice chair of the Campaign for Pubs, was less complimentary.
She said: “Wet-led pubs like mine, with restricted and reduced trade due to Government rules, have been given no support from the Government.
“In truth the Chancellor hasn’t tried to help pubs, he’s just decided to help tourism and whilst that is important, so are pubs in other areas and so is community and today the Chancellor has turned his back on many community locals.”
Julian Jessop from the Institute of Economic Affairs added: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme may be a gimmick too far.
“It seems an overly complicated way to deliver a boost to demand lasting just a few days in August.”
Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday, he said.
Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within 5 working days.
It’s hoped that the huge slash to VAT will enable firms to cut prices for tourists and day-trippers, so they can spend their money on getting the hospitality sector moving again.
Ministers are expected to launch a huge campaign to encourage people to take a staycation in Britain this year rather than holiday abroad to further boost revenues.
Today’s radical plans are designed to save 3.2million jobs in the hospitality industry – which is the 3rd biggest employer in the UK.
He revealed his sweeping plans in an emergency mini budget – known as a summer economic update – to MPs in the House of Commons this lunchtime.
The move comes just four months after he gave his Spring Budget in March – filled with a £30billion economic package to try to protect the country from the economic impact of coronavirus.
Since then he’s splurged billions on the NHS, the huge furlough scheme, and several other big projects to keep the economic engine moving.
Today’s ‘mini budget’ comes just after the prime minister’s “New Deal” speech – promising to plough more cash into building major infrastructure projects to create jobs and growth.
The Government wants to focus on young people, who have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and are more likely to have lost or will lose their jobs.
The VAT cut is designed to make holidays, staycations and days out cheaper over the next few months, and encourage people to take them.
The VAT cut – down from 15 per cent down to five per cent – will save families around £160 a year, research from Bilk suggested.
It could knock as much as £300 off a week’s holiday, too.
The Sun revealed exclusively last weekend that a stamp duty holiday was on the cards for six months to help boost sales – and was expected from the Autumn.
The temporary measure would remove tax on the purchase of homes to target those most in need of help following the coronavirus crisis.
But Mr Sunak has been forced to bring forward the move because of fears the housing market would freeze while buyers waited for it to come in the autumn.
The move will enable some homes at the lower end of the London housing market to be taken out of stamp duty but crucially would take out hundreds of thousands of properties in the crucial ‘Blue Wall’ seats that handed Boris Johnson his huge election win last year.
Already property prices have started to fall due to the coronavirus disruption.
The Government will fund thousands of jobs for people who are out of work as part of stage two of their plans to bounce Britain back from coronavirus.
Under the £2billion Kickstart Scheme, the Government will pay towards six months of wage costs of each 16 to 24-year-old hired by employers.
It will cover 100 per cent of the minimum wage for a maximum of 25 hours a week — with firms able to top up wages.
Employers will be able to offer a six-month work placement for people aged between 16 and 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
An initial £2billion has been put aside for the scheme but the Treasury said it will increase the budget if there is high take-up.
The Sun also revealed this week the details of the new scheme to help boost a ‘green recovery’.
Hundreds of thousands of households will get the grants of up to £5,000 to make their homes more environmentally friendly.
Vouchers worth up to £10,000 will be available to some of the poorest families.
Homeowners will be able to spend the cash on loft, wall and floor insulation, eco-friendly boilers, heat pumps, double or triple-glazed windows, low-energy lighting and energy-efficient doors.
The scheme will go live in September and, according to Treasury estimates, will save families up to £600 a year on energy bills.
The grants will be part of a wider £3billion investment in green technology to be unveiled as the UK moves towards going carbon neutral by 2050.
The extra £1billion will be spent on revamping public buildings and social housing.
Every firm who hires an 18-24 year old trainee will get a £1,000 cash bonus, the Chancellor is expected to confirm.
He will pledge £111million to the scheme which will incentivise firms to take on and train young workers struggling to find a job.